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Army Consultant Update

COL Bonnie Hartstein, MD, FACEP

Greetings EM Family!

I hope your calendars are already marked for the Joint Services Symposium in Emergency Medicine (JSSEM), scheduled for 21-22 September 2023 at Lackland AFB, San Antonio, TX. Come join us to get some of your KSAs/ICTLs/CMRPs and collaborate with your colleagues at the only military-sponsored EM conference. (Reach out to MAJ(P) Melissa Myers and Maj Suleiman Ismael for details - melissa.a.myers60.mil@health.mil or suleiman.f.ismael.mil@health.mil)

Planning for PCS moves next Summer 2024* is underway! (Hard to believe as we are still fully in the heat of Summer 2023 in San Antonio!) I want to share with you the “rules of the game” when it comes to the PCS process and the AIM cycle. Starting last year, the Army Medical Department began a hybrid assignment process that merges old school consultant assignments with AIM (open market job search/interview/hiring). The specialty consultant identifies spots for soldiers graduating from GME (residents and fellows) and all others compete for positions in AIM. If you are a graduating resident or fellow, expect to have a personal touch-point with me to make sure I know your career goals and personal preferences. If you are not in GME and are moving, it is important to share your ideas and plans with me so I can balance the available spots between graduating residents and staff. 

As a quick review, our Army EM Area of Concentration (AOC) code is 62A. No matter what job you fill, your primary AOC is always 62A. That said, about 20% of our population fills jobs that are considered “AOC immaterial” which means they are open to other types of physicians. These include 61N (Flight Medicine), 62B (Field Surgeon), and 60A (Medical Corps Leadership jobs). We also fill a few 05A  branch immaterial positions (open to other medical branches like Medical Service Corps etc). These are usually command spots or other higher level leadership roles. We have a strong presence in all echelons of care (Roles 1-5) and Special Operations, and we hold positions of leadership in every type of medical unit in the Army. Keep in mind, movers will fill the AOC and Branch immaterial spots at the same rate of approximately 20% to help cover these important jobs in the operational force. 

Other highlights in Army EM include our Military Unique Curriculum in Honduras (MUCH) rotation currently available to BAMC assigned residents and staff. This is an austere, resource-limited, deployment-like EM rotation designed to prepare military emergency physicians to be ready upon graduation for operational assignments. The SAUSHEC EM Residency is working with other military EM Residency programs to expand this opportunity to all sites interested.

Also, Army EM has introduced two additional civilian EM residency partners to help train the next generation of military EM physicians - UT Health San Antonio, collocated near Brooke Army Medical Center, and University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital collocated with the Army Trauma Training Center where Army FRSDs go to train. These two programs will now join MCG as potential residency locations for prospective Army EM applicants.

It’s a great time to be an Army EM physician! If you have good news stories to share, please send them my way. If you have any questions or are looking for one-on-one career mentorship, reach out to me. My door is always open! 

COL Bonnie Hartstein, Army EM Consultant

*Your movement cycle is governed by your YMAV- which is usually automatically set for 3 years from your last PCS. That isn’t set in stone. After at least one year on station, you could ask to move and you are eligible for GME or other opportunities. For example: you could PCS in 2024 and simultaneously apply for fellowship, get picked up and start in 2025. If it’s a PCS you seek earlier than your YMAV, keep in mind you would be in the AIM cycle and competing for open jobs. Your job would automatically be open to others, there isn’t a way to secure your job while looking for a different one - that’s the risk. We can talk more one-on-one if you would like more details. 

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